I had a nice day getting started on the actual construction phase of the Black Iris LA-2A. Today, I tackled the main turret board, the largest of the five boards needed for this project. I thought I'd snap some pictures as I went along to show how I make my point-to-point wired turret boards.
First, we start with a picture of the board, we want to make. I start with a PNG image exported from the DIY layout creator software I use. I then import this into Canvas (or other) drawing program, and crop the image down to just the bit I want. I then scale the board to the actual size I'm going to fabricate, and print it out.
Next up, we cut some 1/8" G10 Garolite (a durable and non conductive fiberglass composite that is ideal for turret boards) to the desired size:
The main board here is 10.25" x 3.125". Not shown is where I actually tape my full size printout of the layout right onto the garolite. I then use this as a drill guide to drill the holes for the turrets. But you end up with something like this:
Next, it's a matter of staking the turrets in place. In my case, I prefer a part that is something more like a cross between a turret and an eyelet. They're probably actually some kind of rivet -- I got them from George Metropoulos at Metroamp. They're pretty easy to stake...just gently crimp the base with wire cutters, drive them home with a hammer, and they're there to stay. The resulting boards are easy to work with.
Once their mounted on my handy-dandy PanaVise stand, it's just a matter of populating the board with the discrete components. This is absolutely my favourite part of amp building... there's something very pleasing about taking each component from it's pouch, testing it, bending and trimming the leads just so, and soldering it in place. It's probably bad for me, but I confess I love the smell of the rosin in the solder. And this stage is really rewarding, because only a few hours later you have a finished board ready to be mounted in the chassis and wired in:
It's fun to compare the initial drawings with the final realization.